Teaching Tips

Recital Magic: Moga Conservatory of Dance

From Coppélia. Photo by Toshi Oga, courtesy of MOGA

Your year-end recital is your studio's pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Not only is it the time for your dancers to celebrate what they've accomplished during the year, it's your opportunity to demonstrate to parents firsthand the value of a dance education. A successful recital can also grant your school an influential role in the local community. Whether a prominent conservatory or a small-town studio, and whether your dancers win competitions or take classes once a week, your year-end recital is the chance for your dancers—and your program—to shine.

MOGA Conservatory of Dance

Misa Oga Hansen

Salt Lake City, UT

Since its grand opening five years ago, MOGA Conservatory of Dance has become a respected training program within the heart of Salt Lake City. Each spring, Hansen and her students put on a production of a full-length ballet that attracts art lovers from all around the Salt Lake Valley.

Pro tip: "I try not to replace technique time with rehearsals. We want to be sure my students are continuing to develop the strengths that they will be showcasing. You can't separate the technique from the artistry."

On themes: "We did Coppélia the very first year we were open, and then we brought it back again last year to celebrate our five-year anniversary. It was great to see the dancers progress. It's been a great choice because it's a comedy, so even our audience members who may not be familiar with ballet can really connect with it."

Venue: "The theater has a lighting design team that I work with, but I come up with my own plan. I like to keep things as bright as possible without involving too much front light, because it washes the dancers out."

Logistics: "I make so many spreadsheets on how the show is going to run, how we need to line up the dancers, which classes need to be where and when. We have multiple meetings with the staff and teachers, and I make sure every little thing is practiced in class ahead of time. We work on bows for a whole month. The kids practice quick changes, putting on their headpieces, and the correct way to take their costumes on and off."

Costume strategy: "I'm really picky with costumes. I don't like anything too bright, shiny or glittery. I just want to keep to the delicate quality of ballet. For the little dancers, we purchase costumes that they can keep, because that is a big highlight of the performance for them. It's important to me that the dancers love them."

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